Very few countries are blessed with an instantly recognisable national cocktail – yet Singapore, which celebrates its independence from Malaysia this day in 1965, is permanently associated with the Singapore Sling, a staple in bars across the city-state.
The National Day Parade is huge, with flypasts and marchpasts topped off with a vast firework display, and traditionally-minded Singaporeans wear the national colours, red and white. While parades aren't entirely our thing, we are quite partial to a Singapore Sling, created, perhaps back in 1915 by Hainan-Chinese bartender, Ngiam Tong Boon. (To discover why "perhaps", see the history behind the Singapore Sling.)
The spiritual home of the Singapore Sling is, of course, the Raffles Hotel, a vast, colonial Christmas cake of a hotel whose Long Bar has played home to stars and literati from Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling to Noël Coward, Charlie Chaplin and Ava Gardner.
How close the Singapore Slings served in the Long Bar today are to that original drink created by Ngiam Tong Boon is debatable, but Dale DeGroff's Singapore Sling recipe incorporates this classic cocktail's key ingredients - dry gin, cherry brandy liqueur, fresh pineapple, citrus, Bénédictine, grenadine, bitters, and triple sec - to make a delicious, non-syrupy long drink.
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